Spatial Analysis: Principles and Methods - HECO5300

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


The overall aim of this module is to provide students with an outline of the principals of Spatial Analysis and to introduce a range of methods for collection and analysis of spatial data. Particular attention is paid to the development of students' analysis skills through the use of remote sensing techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS are increasingly being used in wildlife conservation and environmental sciences in general to help solve a wide range of "real world" environmental and associated social problems. As the current trend in ecological studies moves towards the acquisition manipulation and analysis of large datasets with explicit geographic reference, employers often report shortages of relevant GIS skills to handle spatial data. Thus, this module will introduce the use of GIS as a means of solving spatial problems and the potential of GIS and remote sensing techniques for wildlife conservation providing the student with marketable skills relevant to research and commercial needs. Topics will be taught using a combination of lectures and practicals. The practical classes will provide hands-on experience using ArcGIS which is the most widely used GIS system. Students will be able to use knowledge and skills acquired in this module in practical project work.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24

Private study hours: 126

Total study hours: 150


BSc Wildlife Conservation
BSc Human Ecology

Method of assessment

Practical Report (400 words) (20%)
Group PowerPoint Presentation (20%)
Individual Report (900 words) (60%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Bernhardsen, T. (2002) Geographic Information Systems: an Introduction, 3rd ed. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Berry, J. K. (1995) Spatial Reasoning for Effective GIS. GIS World Books, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Burrough, P. A. and McDonnell, R. A. (1998) Principles of Geographical Information Systems, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Campbell, J. B. (2002) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 3rd edition. Taylor & Francis, London.
Goodchild, M. F., Steyaert, L. T., Parks, B. O., Johnston, C. O., Crane, M. P. and Glendinning, S. (eds) (1996) GIS and Environmental Modeling: Progress and Research Issues. GIS World Books, Fort Collins.

Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., and Carver, S. (2006). An introduction to Geographical Information Systems. 3rd edition. Pearson, Harlow.

Jones, C. B. (1997) Geographical Information Systems and Computer Cartography. Longman, Harlow.

Johnston, C.A. (1998) Geographical Information Systems in Ecology. Oxford, Blackwell Science.

Lillesand, T. M. , Kiefer R. W. and Chipman J. W. (2007) Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation, 6th edn. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Wadsworth, R. and Treweek, J. (1999) GIS for Ecology: an Introduction. Longman, Harlow.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 demonstrate knowledge of the generic concepts spatial analysis and an understanding of the application of GIS and remote sensing for biodiversity conservation using real world examples
8.2 acquire and combine data from multiple sources in a GIS to solve practical problems in wildlife conservation
8.3 gain an understanding of the principals underlying the analysis of spatial data and remote sensing data
8.4 gain practical knowledge of GIS analytical techniques and how to use them to generate, map, analyse and describe environmental data
8.5 generate and critically evaluate GIS and remote sensing outcomes and write reports on GIS mapping and analysis


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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